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Committee chair says probe of Wilson-Raybould affair a possibility

Chair of the Access to the Justice System committee Anthony Housefather is seen before the committee convenes Wednesday April 13, 2016 in Ottawa. The Liberal chair of the House of Commons Justice committee is open to launching a probe into whether the Prime Minister's Office improperly tried to influence the justice minister not to prosecute Quebec-corporate giant SNC Lavalin. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — The Liberal chair of the House of Commons justice committee is open to probing whether the Prime Minister’s Office improperly tried to influence the justice minister not to prosecute Quebec corporate giant SNC-Lavalin.

Anthony Housefather says the partisan nature of House committees make them imperfect for such investigations but he says if the committee members can come together in a non-partisan way, the committee might be able to do some good.

The justice committee meets Wednesday at the request of opposition MPs to decide whether to launch a study and Housefather says as chair he will see that the meeting is public.

Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet this morning, a month after she was moved from Justice to Veterans Affairs, and less than a week after allegations surfaced that she was pressured to drop a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin for fraud and corruption related to its business dealings in Libya.

Housefather says he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he says nobody from his office pressured Wilson-Raybould but he also believes more clarity is needed to explain exactly what went on.

The ethics commissioner is also investigating the matter to see if any part of the Conflict of Interest Act was violated.

The Canadian Press

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